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Steak and Greens, take three

20 Nov

Apparently I’ve been on a steak-cooking kick– three times in three weeks?

I shopped at Olivier’s Butchery for the first time today, and picked up a grass-fed filet mignon. Sure, not cheap per pound… but $9 for what ended up being one of the better steaks of my life isn’t bad compared to going out…

Prep counter: steak covered in black pepper and a little salt on both sides, green beans, baby broccoli, sunflower sprouts (all from the CSA box), and shallots.

After heating some olive oil and peanut oil over medium heat in a cast iron skillet, I dropped in the (thick) steak:

After four and a half minutes on each side, I took the steak off and let it rest under a foil tent (does that actually make a difference?) for 5 minutes, while I lightly steamed the beans and baby broccoli and made a pan sauce:

  1. Over medium heat, I sauteed a minced shallot and 3 small crushed cloves of garlic in the remaining oil and fat for a few minutes.
  2. Then I deglazed the pan: I added maybe 1/4 cup of red wine (which quickly boiled away) and used it to free the crunchy bits of meat and fat and seasoning left in the pan, then added another 1/4ish cup of wine and reduced it over the course of a few minutes.
  3. Finally, I melted a Tbsp of butter into the meat-bits-and-reduced-wine mixture, and spooned it over the steak.

Here it is: pepper-crusted filet mignon (medium-rare) with a simple pan sauce and three kinds of green vegetables:

Very good!

Deviled Eggs, Pickled Fennel, Kale, Squash w/ Sage Butter

11 Nov

CSA Week Two, a recent trip to City Beer, and a friend visiting from Boston inspired another little dinner party:

Deviled eggs (perhaps the best variant I’ve made: hard boiled eggs, the yolks mashed with quite a bit of olive oil (and no mayo!) and a little mustard, salt, and pepper, sprinkled with smoked paprika, and topped with crispy-fried capers, a crowning touch inspired by this printer & piemaker post).

Salami (Olli Napoli, smoked pork with red wide– fine but not remarkable, I probably wouldn’t buy it again).

Lightly-pickled fennel (two days earlier I boiled a mix of 1 part white vinegar to 2 parts water, with a few tsp of mustard seed, 1 tsp salt, and maybe 1/2 tsp coriander seed, then poured the hot liquid over a jar of sliced fennel and refrigerated it). I wasn’t sure anyone else would like it but we ate the whole pint.

Kale (minced shallots cooked in sesame oil over medium heat for 10 minutes until crisping. In parallel, kale boiled/steamed in about an inch of water for 8 minutes, rinsed in cold water and drained, then added to the skillet with the shallots for a few minutes).

Carrots brushed with olive oil and roasted for about 20 minutes at 400F.

Squash: a butternut squash and an acorn squash, each cut in half and brushed with olive oil and baked at 400F face down for about 40 minutes, until soft. I actually did this two nights before, scooped out the squash, and put it in the fridge, reheating it the night of the dinner. With a little salt and pepper and sage brown butter drizzled over it right before serving (5 Tbsp of butter melted over medium heat with maybe 1/4 cup of chopped fresh sage for 5-10 minutes). Quite good, and easy.

And the meal only took about an hour to make (not counting the prep a few days before).

Beer included Upright Brewing’s Six (a slightly malty rye beer, which I continue to love), La Fin Du Monde (a belgian-style tripel / golden ale), Upright Flora Rustica (from a Portland trip, saison-style but slightly vegetative and strange, in a good way), and La Trappe Dubbel. And Corona, but we won’t talk about that.

Fava Beans, Crabapples, Cod, Romano Beans, Fennel

7 Nov

I had dried fava beans, so for an afternoon snack made ful medames: soak the beans overnight, then boil them in a fresh set of water for about three hours until soft, adding enough water to keep them covered, they boiling it down and mashing them into a paste, with lemon juice, olive oil, fresh garlic, and a bit of salt. Like hummus, but earthier. Served with crumbled feta, fresh parsley, some sliced crabapples, and toasted pita bread. This was good– I’d make it again.

Then, a dinner for two: the final pair of artichokes from the CSA, cod (coated with pepper and salt, seared on both sides in a cast-iron skillet, then coated in a tahini + lemon juice mixture and broiled in the oven), and the romano beans (shallots, fennel, and cardamom seeds sauteed in a little sesame oil for 10+ minutes until translucent, mixed with from-the-CSA romano beans that had been steamed for a few minutes since they were getting tough). Not bad.

Artichoke, Kale, Fried Egg

3 Nov

Continuing to work through my first CSA box (which was kale, three artichokes, an acorn squash, a butternut squash, romano beans, sunchokes, and good eggs):

Kale, Sunchoke, Quinoa, Steak

2 Nov

I just joined a weekly CSA: an excuse to start up a rotating few-friends Tuesday dinner party to use some of it while it’s especially fresh:

Top: a bit of good ribeye steak.

Bottom: a kale, sunchoke, romano bean, onion, and quinoa hash loosely inspired by this online recipe. This turned out quite well– better than usual for messing around in the kitchen. Basically, each ingredient got cooked/boiled separately until just-barely-done, the boiled sunchokes got sliced thin and fried in some butter, then everything else got added to them. Salt and pepper were the only seasonings.

Steak & Salad

31 Oct

Quite a day at work, so treating myself to: steak (Five Dot Ranch ribeye w/ salt and pepper, seared on each side in a cast iron skillet on the stovetop, then cooked in the oven in the same skillet at 500F to the hairy edge of medium-rare), padrone peppers fried in olive oil, kale and spinach (lightly steamed), some good tomatoes (Happy Boy dry-farmed, sweet), and a special Russian River Damnation-Ale-aged-with-oak-chips. Yes.

Kale, Tomatillos

28 Oct

After so many frites, I needed a salad break, so:

Kale shallow-blanched (a few inches of salted water for about 7 minutes), with green zebra tomatoes, radishes, feta, and roasted tomatillo salsa (purple tomatillos broiled in the oven about 10 minutes, then blended with the juice of a lemon, salt, pepper, a minced shallot, and a pinch of cayenne powder– I would have used a fresh or roasted green chili of some sort if I’d had one).

Not actually that great– too acidic, and not satisfying without meat or a grain.

Soba w/ Broccoli

18 Aug

A quick-and-simple (15-minute) dinner: boil soba (3-4 minutes), saute broccoli and minced garlic in sesame oil (just a few minutes), combine along with a bit of soy sauce for a minute more, serve with sriracha and avocado.

Beans, squash, duck egg

12 Aug


A quick dinner from mostly free-to-me ingredients:

I sauteed some fresh ginger and moroccan spice[1] in peanut oil, then added crookneck squash[2], coated it in the spiced oil, and cooked for about 5 minutes. In parallel, I boiled the wide flat beans[3] for a few minutes (they turned bright green). I added the drained beans to the squash for a minute, emptied them onto a plate, then fried a duck egg[4] in the oil left over in the pan. I served them with lemon[2] and avocado[3]. Not bad!

[1] Included by Powell’s with my recent book order. Dulcet brand, a mix of turmeric, salt, paprika, cayenne, pepper, saffron, and other spices (I mainly tasted the turmeric, salt, and a bit of heat).
[2] Overflow from a friend’s garden.
[3] A friend was out of town so I picked up his CSA this week.
[4] Free from work. Long story.

Beer-Centric Dinner Party

8 Aug

This is the first time I’ve made a dinner for friends with courses each paired with / inspired by a specific beer. Some of them worked well together, some didn’t, but it was a good evening overall.

Appetizers: a slightly bitter, slightly floral beer (Upright Flora Rustica) with a collection of snacks: bread, cheese (Cowgirl Creamery Mt Tam), radishes, fresh-pickled fennel (an interesting concept), Boccalone orange-fennel salami and pepper salami, salted almonds, and three kinds of pickled carrots (carrots pickled for a week with dill, vinegar, and salt, carrot quick pickles (overnight with lots of vinegar, mustard seed, cloves), and some Happy Girl spicy carrot pickles I bought).

The most vinegar-heavy pickles overwhelmed the beer (and the beer didn’t have the same hint of jalapeno it did when I’d had it on tap in Portland), but the rest of the food seemed to go reasonably well with it, especially the fennel salami and pickled fennel.

My favorite course: a salad of mixed greens + roasted stonefruit (peaches and black plums, still warm) + a little fresh mint + a ricotta that didn’t turn out the way I expected (I tried to make it with 1 pint whole milk, 1 pint heavy cream, 1 tsp salt: brought to a boil, 3 Tbsp lemon juice added, then simmered to curdle.. but it never fully curdled (did the cream interfere somehow? were the lemons not acidic enough?), so it ended up soft and creamy) + a dressing of balsamic vinegar reduced with agave syrup. We were still drinking the Flora Rustica, which worked quite well with the fruit.

Black bean soup generally based on the Cooks Illustrated New Best Recipe version: dry beans and a diced onion boiled for a few hours with a ham hock and bay leaves and a little beer until beans were soft, the ham hock and bay leaves removed and the meat from the hock shredded and returned to the pot, then a separately-sauteed sofrito (onions, garlic, red bell pepper, oregano, cumin, smoked paprika, chipotle flakes, salt) added to the pot for about 20 minutes. I made this the night before and reheated it the day of the dinner. Cilantro and lime juice added just as it was served.

This was paired with Upright Billy the Mountain, which turned out to be a rather… challenging beer– a very tart and woody barrel-aged old ale, about 9% alcohol but not at all sweet like a barleywine. Whew. Interesting, but I’m not sure I’d do that again.

Pre-dessert: my second attempt at fresh ricotta (simple: 1 qt whole milk + 1 tsp salt, brought to a light boil, then 1.5 Tbsp white vinegar added, simmered a few minutes until the curds separated, strained for an hour in cheesecloth): bright, fresh, and sweet, with a nice texture. Served with Pannepot 2010, a delicious slightly sweet / musky / lightly spiced ale I’d had in Belgium but had never seen in the US until I came across it at City Beer Store (apparently they get it very occasionally). A good combination.

Official dessert– honey lavender ice cream from Bi-Rite, paired with Russian River Supplication (a sour ale fermented with brit and lots of cherries). The Supplication was actually not as acidic or difficult as the Billy the Mountain, and while strong, worked well with the ice cream (especially, a bit of ice cream after each sip of beer).

Then as our post-dinner digestif/nightcap/whatever: some Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast (an oatmeal stout brewed with coffee).

Success! Time to go lay down and do the final clean-up tomorrow.

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